22 April 2002 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Vinnolit, Number four in Europe's polyvinyl chloride (PVC) market, says it is now one of the lowest-cost PVC producers in the region, following the opening of a new 330,000-metric-ton-per-year vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant by its Vintron subsidiary at Knapsack, Germany.
The new plant means that Vinnolit, Germany's largest PVC producer, is now completely backward integrated at its two sites at Knapsack, near Cologne, and at Burghausen in Southern Germany.
"We think we now have one of the most profitable PVC operations in Europe because there are not many other producers who are backward integrated in the way we are," says a Vintron spokesman. "We will be able to improve our margins by not having to buy in raw materials."
In October of last year, Vintron's chlorine plant at Knapsack was expanded from 150,000 to 250,000 metric tons per year, with the incorporation of membrane technology. Previously, the output of ethylene dichloride (EDC) was tripled to 545,000 tons a year
More than á130 million ($115 million) has been invested for upgrading the PVC production chain at Vintron, the largest investment at the Knapsack site.
Vinnolit, a former PVC venture between Wacker Chemie and Celanese, and Vintron, a chlorine and VCM subsidiary of Celanese, were acquired just over two years ago by Advent International, a private equity investor. Advent's objective has been to create a more cost-efficient PVC enterprise through backward integration.
Last year, Vinnolit had sales of á542 million ($477 million) from a total capacity of 650,000 tons per year.
As a result of the installation of the new VCM unit, Vintron is reducing its natural gas consumption by 40 percent, and electricity by 15 percent, per ton of VCM. With the introduction of membrane technology, electricity consumption for chlorine production has been reduced by 10 percent per ton.
"Having successfully restructured Vintron to safeguard raw material supply to Vinnolit, we are convinced that we have made a significant contribution to securing the future of our site and work-places in the region," says Hermann Berwe, Vintron's managing director.
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